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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 11, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EST

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local time. so we're talking about 15 hours ago for you, is that correct? >> yeah. it happened around noontime. a little after noon. about 2:00 in the afternoon here. >> okay. about noontime. so what we're talking about then, right now, you're looking about 6:00 p.m., right? >> we're at 6:00 p.m., right? >> caller: we are 6:00 p.m. now. right. >> so six hours ago, correct? >> caller: about four hours ago. >> tell me what has happened since. >> caller: we felt the tremor in tokyo. we were told to evacuate which means to show the tremor was felt down here. we are two and a half hours south of the prefecture, the
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epicenter, but we felt it here. we were seeing pictures and vigils of what happened from the aerials, you saw the pictures of the tsunami that swept across the coast of the prefecture. there have been reports and airline visuals of por addic fire. so far, the only report of deaths, fatalities north of here and one person that was swept away by the tidal waves. >> now, when did the first wave hit? >> caller: the first wave, reportedly hit around 3:00. >> local time. so three hours you are saying? >> caller: an hour after it struck. >> so the earthquake hit at 2:00
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local time. >> caller: that's correct. >> and the first wave at 3:00 p.m. >> caller: depending on the location. >> right. the way they hit is in a circular motion of the epicenter of the earthquake, which is 230 miles northeast of tokyo. now, you know, tokyo itself, if you have been to tokyo, at this time of the day, 2:00 in the afternoon is not ruch hour, but it is friday. tokyo subways are renowned for being packed like sardines, literally. you have those professional subway packers. they will push you into the subway. how busy were they at the time. that might be a concern. >> caller: it's packed. we understand a lot of public
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transportation systems are still being checked for precautionary measures. so, right now, it's 6:00, it's about rush hour time. you have people at the train stations. it's a problem. it magnifies the traffic. >> of course, the panic is a concern as you try to, in an organized fashion, move people outside of the subways. i heard earlier when the quake first hit, it was calm and as it became greater in magnitude, a lot of the subway goers upped their urgency and left the subway. stand by. we are definitely going to get back to you. we want to get to sergeant david pearson at narita, in narita,
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japan. are you at the airport? >> caller: yes, i'm at the airport as we speak. >> were you there four hours ago when it hit? >>. >> caller: yes, i was. i saw the lockers shaking back and forth violently. by the look on people's faces, i could see there was an earthquake. we were called into formation. there would be a tsunami coming, we would be regrouping and move further south to evacuate the country. >> narita, is that on the west coast of the main island? >> caller: that's correct. yes. >> at this moment, have you seen any sort of tsunami wave action on the west coast? the wave action can wraparound islands as we saw during the
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tsunami in the 2000s. have you seen any tsunami wave action there? >> caller: i have not seen anything myself. i have not been by the windows. >> thank you very much. we appreciate you for stopping by today. watch at what is happening here in tokyo. some of the waves here moving through. if you have flown over japan, what you will see at narita airport or any of the airports in parts of tokyo or up and down the coast where you are traveling through japan to get to other parts of asia, this sort of farmland where the tsunami is just moving through unabbated is very common outside of the main parts of business
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like tokyo, and other areas yamamoto, kobe. there's a lot of farmland. it's because they have a drive toward self-sustainability. they try to grow all that they eat. this farmland where we see the tsunami run through, the wave, it may be a common event that is happened post this 8.9 earthquake that has made its way through this part. just moving the buildings, if you look at the pictures very closely, we will continue to watch what happens. this is moving parallel to the coast here. i understand we have somebody else on the phone right now. can you tell me your name? >> caller: jeffry. >> what do you know about this
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earthquake? >> caller: only what i see on the news. i was on the pc. in a moment, it flashed up with regards to tsunami watch. it took ten minutes to go to a tsunami warning. after that, the alarms go off around the whole island. >> what do the alarms sound like? >> we are about 100 yards from one. they are loud. they are blaring. you can't miss it. it wakes everybody up. it truly did. >> what are you going to do? are you moving to higher ground? >> i'm ten feet from the water. we are close to where the tsunami warning is at. we live right on the water, a wonderful, great little tropical place. any lift to the water is going to wipe us out. we are moving to higher ground. >> how far is this higher ground
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for you? >> caller: well, the island is pretty small. it's not too far to get to higher ground. right now, traffic is bad. we are going to get out as soon as possible. a lot of folks are streaming out. neighbors are saying good-bye. we are doing what we can. we are trying to save what we can. we seem to have some time. we are taking advantage to save the precious memories we have and get out of here. it's our second time doing this. it's hard to believe. >> tell me about the first time. >> caller: the first time didn't happen. it was a no-show. i have a newfound refound refect for being paranoid. i thought i was going to get off the island before it happened. >> are you alluding back to the other earthquake? >> the one that happened in february.
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>> oh, february, okay. at that time, you were asked to leave the area. >> caller: oh, yeah. >> how many people in your area need to move away from the coast. have they said how far away or how high you need to go? >> caller: there are evacuation routes. last i heard, it's a two meter rise. they keep revising and updating. i understand they took the data from the last non-event and made adjustments and seem more certain something is going to happen. of course that gets our blood pressure going. we are expecting the worst. >> given you have some experience with tsunami warnings, what have those told you to look out for? have they told you to look for a rise in the water? have they told you to look at the warning signals? how have they made you aware to
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be careful and understand what is coming toward you? >> caller: if you are watching the water rise, it's too late. last year, i went to 600 foot elevation. i happen to have a great vantage point of the lagoon. i can see it. everyone is watching. it was during the day. it never came. but we were watching for it. it came and went and there was only a foot rise in difference. this time, it's dark out. it's nighttime. it's supposed to come around 3:00. i think they do have plans and we are following the plan. this time, we have been on the island more and we know more people. we have friends in higher places and that works to our advantage. everyone here seems to know somebody. it helps to bring a plan together. >> we hope the plan will work out for you.
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you are describing you have been told this wave could be six feet, seven feet high, is that right? >> caller: that's how i understand it, yes. >> how high is your home off the ground? >> caller: two feet. we are about 150 feet away from the water. it's old military housing. this entire community doesn't have a chance. i don't think, of surviving it. it's old. it's tropical old-style home. i would be -- it's going to come. i don't think there's going to be a lot left. >> are you on a base right now? >> caller: i am not. i'm in ever beach. if you look at the mouth of pearl harbor, you have the military on one side and the little spit of land that was privatized awhile ago.
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we are nestled between two bases. >> you are in the armed forces? >> caller: i am. i'm army. >> what do you do for the army? >> i'm a soldier. i work on systems. >> jeffry, i really appreciate you giving your perspective there. i hope you and those you care about are able to move away and avoid the six to seven foot, what you are hearing, tsunami wave that could reach you in a matter of hours. what time are they saying it will probably arrive for you? have they given you a span of time? we are hearing estimates here. >> caller: i have been hearing 3:00 a.m. about four hours or less. >> that is also what is the latest piece of information we have, too. about 2:59 local time that it will probably hit the coast. it sounds like you are outside.
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what does the sea look like right now? >> caller: it's ripply. it's beautiful. a nice crescent moon. it's quiet. the water is how it looks all the time. it's beautiful. >> all right. jeffry, thank you so much. we will hope to talk to you later, maybe get an update, if you don't mind, if we reach out to you as you try to get away from the coast. when do you plan on leaving the coast? in the next hour or so or right now? >> caller: i appreciate the well wishes and prayers. >> we'll touch base with you later. we know you'll do well. jeffry is a soldier in the u.s. army telling us what he could see there in oahu in hawaii as
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this, as the warnings come out to them there could be a six to seven foot tsunami wave hitting them at around 3:00 a.m. local time. about four hours from now. so, we hope the best for them. we are watching that. if you are just joining us, straight to the update in terms of what we know right now, an 8.9 earthquake hitting off the coast. the northeast coast of japan. this only about 230 miles northeast of tokyo. on this map here, you can see the epicenter and the red circle at 230 miles southwest of that is where tokyo is. 13 million people as the buildings were shaking, 8.9 magnitude earthquake. roughly an hour later, tsunami waves hitting the coast of
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various islands in japan and the aftereffect, you can see in the pictures we are showing you, walls of water moving through. we are hearing up to 10, 11, 12 feet high. could be higher. tsunami waves were just running through. for the most part, when you see the coast of japan, especially on the east side, it is mostly flat lands, mostly farmlands. this is why the wave can move taking buildings and fires, 18-wheelers, trucks floating like twigs. this is the concern. this is what they are still concerned there in japan at the moment. reportedly two confirmed deaths is what we are hearing from our producer there in japan. we are watching the latest information coming out of japan.
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we were talking earlier about the subway system which is, if not the busiest in the world, one of the busiest subway systems in the world. have those been completely shut down? >> caller: as far as we know, most of the train systems are still shut down. they are checking the tracks as a precaution that there are no cracks in the tracks. people are stuck at the train station right now. >> they are stuck in the train stations. what about the subway stations? have you heard reports either through the local or the domestic network news system of reports of people stuck in the subway systems? >> caller: we haven't heard anyone being stuck inside a train so far. there's a train service. hopefully they were let out
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before this shutdown took place. we understand that both the commuter train system and the subway system has stopped running for now. >> now most people would associate tokyo teaming with people packed wall-to-wall with businessmen and women. at this moment, as we look at the time there in tokyo, what do the streets look like? >> caller: you know, i have a pretty panoramic view of the city here. granted it's dark, but it looks normal. if you go to the train stations, some of the very -- equivalent of times square -- >> it's about 6:15 right? 6:15 p.m. >> caller: right. you can see people stuck at the train station. where i am, i'm also looking in central tokyo. the streets are relatively empty
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or, you know, it's normal here. >> okay. tell me about your building. how high are you right now? what floor? >> caller: i'm on the 27th floor. >> is that where you were when the earthquake hit four hours ago? >> caller: that's right. yeah. >> tell me about your experience. >> caller: i was in the office watching the parliamentary debate on tv. a warning sign pops up saying a large earthquake tremor might strike northern japan. 30 seconds afterward, i think, we felt the tremor here in tokyo. >> stand by. we are going to get an update on what is happening there in japan. of course our big concern is a tsunami. ginger zee joins us now. the warnings have been, stay away, there are going to be more
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waves. >> jernly. in any situation like this, it means they are imminent. it spends on how big. when you have an earthquake getting the energy going under the water, it depends on what coast or level of land it's hitting. right now, we have tsunami warnings all the way surrounding hawaii. it's really an area we are concerned about. there are also tsunami warnings in parts of the west coast. i'll get out of the way here. from seattle to the mexican border, this goes throughout the entire pacific. the most affected areas will likely be from hawaii southward. you go mexico, chile and down. that's what's incredible about this. there's a warning for everyone, the entire pacific. this warning is in place. hawaii would be affected between their local time, 3:00 and 7:00
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a.m. we'll continue to track those. >> all right ginger, thank you very much. >> ginger zee looking at the effects of the tsunami. some of her earlier visuals we are showing there. the tsunami wave can wraparound the island. it's not just one coast. i don't know if we can go back to the map, the epicenter was on the east coast. the tsunami waves can wraparound kind of like the way the ripples in a pool is or in the bathtub when you have that force. the ripples of the water move around, hit the sides and that is, of course, a concern we have seen in previous large earthquakes. this is termed the great earthquake. the fifth largest, at least on record, at 8. magnitude. a huge, absolutely huge earthquake we are talking about with a sense of what we are seeing here with the water and
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tsunami waves. you have to be on the ground to get a sense of how large this is. we were talking earlier about your experience and what you were seeing on the 27th floor. >> caller: yeah. that's right. so we felt the tremor here. it really shook the office. some of the tapes on my desk went on to the floor. the lights were shaking. we were asked to evacuate our office. there was a whole bunch of us walking down the staircase. >> give me a sense because i was in the loma earthquake. the structure that i was in, the walls moved from left to right about a foot and a half. you have to be in this situation to understand how crazy it might appear and absolutely out of reality. tell me about something like that. was the light moving left to
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right two or three feet? give me a sense of that sort of experience that you had. >> caller: you know, it felt like motion sickness on a ship. it was hard to keep a balance standing up. you have to crouch, especially walking down the stairs and still shaking while climbing down the stairs 27 floors. it was just literally hard to stand-up straight. >> so, it was like you were on a boat is what you were saying. was it a slow-moving earthquake? some creep up on you, if you will? that seems to be the account on the subway. where you were at in tokyo, was that your experience? describe to me how it hit. >> caller: it was much slower. it sort of creeps up on you. you don't know if you are imagining it or not. it started to shake left and
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right slowly. at first, hardly noticeable. then the shaking got larger and the tapes were dropped to the floor. it was hard to stand-up straight and by the time we reached the ground floor, it subsided. >> not to make light of this, but for those of you used to living in earthquake country, in your case, japan is an earthquake country, for the united states it means the west coast. you sort of monitor the magnitude of the earthquake and as it gets stronger and stron r er, you react realtime. i think what you are describing to me, as you experienced the earthquake, you think it might be another 4.5 or 5.6 or 6.0 which is what you have been experiencing in the last day. then it hits a certain point and
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you go, this is much larger than what i'm used to feeling. >> that's right. because as you mentioned we had the earthquake from the same location two days ago. we felt the tremors here in tokyo, too. this was much larger. we knew this was going to be big in terms of magnitude richter scale. >> okay. stand by. i know that there's lots going on for you there. 6:25 local time in tokyo. we are looking at roughly four and a half hours since the 8.9 earthquake happened. we'll go straight to a briefing in hawaii. a press briefing. let's see what they say. >> have their eyes on this wave and this exact property. so many people not only in the
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pacific but the whole united states watching this broadcast and this interview. what can you tell us about the interaction you have had with other governments, agencies or countries that can prepare for a wave headed their way. >> well, certainly, the other countries -- some of the other countries have their own technical means to do an evaluation on their own. japan, for instance, which had the biggest impact, they have a well developed tsunami warning system so they issued their warning very quickly. but the other countries around the pacific, many small island states that wouldn't have the technical means to evaluate and they depend on our messages. during these events we simply don't have the staff to individually advise countries. this is all done through the pacific tsunami warning system.
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we have training in, you know, during times when there's not events to help those countries know what to do during these situations. >> reporter: certainly, they are getting the information and your expertise. have you had problems yet today in the system that you know of? >> not that we know of, no. >> reporter: okay. again, the headline is shortly before 3:00, wave heights as big as six feet across the state. if you are in an inundation zone make sure you are well inland and away from the coastline as 3:00 a.m. approaches. >> chip is giving an update in hawaii. this is from the pacific tsunami watch center. we want to understand what is happening there. we understand they are expected to receive a wave of six to seven feet at around 3:00 a.m.
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local time. we'll continue to watch that. we are watching the afteraffects of a huge earthquake 100 times greater than what the united states experienced not too long ago. we'll be right back. [ doctor ] here's some health information for people over 50. maybe you don't think you're at risk for heart attack or stroke but if you've been diagnosed with p.a.d., or have pain or heaviness in your legs, i want to talk to you. you may have heard of poor leg circulation, which could be peripheral artery disease, or p.a.d. with p.a.d., if you have poor circulation in your legs, you may also have poor circulation in your heart or in your brain, your risk for heart attack or stroke is more than doubled with p.a.d. now, ask yourself: am i at risk? if you're not sure,
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we have breaking news here at msnbc. we are watching an 8.9 earthquake in japan off the northeast coast that happened
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about four hours ago. we are watching the after effect. as you can see on the screen here, huge tsunami waves are a concern in hawaii. about 3:00 a.m. local time, they expect the first tsunami wave to hit hawaii. they also have concern about a tsunami wave hitting the west coast of the united states. this at around 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. eastern time. that's in about five hours. we are watching the west coast of the united states, we are watching hawaii and the after effects in the pieces of the video you could see a second ago, the tsunami waves in japan. this is the concerned area. every part of the west coast from seattle to san diego. the tsunami warning from point conception, california to washington and oregon. the red and yellow going up into canada. the concern is after the main
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earthquake hit about four to four and a half hours ago. this wave making its way across the pacific ocean. basically about the speed of an airplane. this, as the wave moves through. it's energy pushes through the pacific ocean and makes its way east toward the west coast of the united states. that is what we know right now in japan itself. the latest reports have a death toll of at least five in what is a massive quake. some 60 times greater force than the huge earthquake that hit asian on boxer day six or seven years ago in indonesia killing hundreds of thousands. in this case, they are faring much better, which is good to hear. there's still concern of major after shocks. in japan, they had quakes that were in the six magnitude range, seven magnitude range. they are very, very large. the resulting waves just moving
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cars around as though they were floating twigs. it's caused fires and explosions at energy storage areas. japan is hitting around 6:30 p.m. they are having to deal with this. what i understand, it's night fall at the moment. this is what they are seeing at night. huge flames in areas. in other spaces they are concerned about these dark waves, shall we say, in the darkness, waves of water coming into the coastal areas of japan. the epicenter was only 230 miles away from tokyo. 13 million people live in that metro poll tan area. a huge population. it was a concern. many of them were, at the time, when it hit at 2:00 p.m. local, were moving around in office buildings. it was a slow progression, got
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larger and larger. many of them realized after a certain point this was going to be larger than what they are normally used to. the country of japan is so used to earthquakes in that area. this is one example. this might be in the diet. their parliament of when the earthquake hit. they stopped work at the moment. this, again, mid workday at 2:00 p.m. local time. the concern when we look at the united states is hawaii. we expect that to happen very soon in terms of a tsunami wave according to the information coming in. it will happen in about three and a half hours. the west coast also a concern. we expect there to be indications of a tsunami wave. warnings saying 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. it could be nothing, but they are warning folks in hawaii and up and down the west coast.
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all the way from oregon down to california, san diego, up to seattle and into canada. those are all areas of concern. these are some of the pictures you saw there of what was happening in japan as the buildings in tokyo are famously very, very high. as soon as commonly tall as we see in new york city. what i understand is now we have somebody else that will be joining us. that will be -- we're going straight to a press conference of the japan agency. >> translator: these areas have been issued tsunami advisory. as for tsunami advisories coast by coast the prefecture -- hugo
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prefecture by coast. western nagasaki prefecture. these places have been issued with a tsunami advisory. more on that tsunami. as of 18 hours today, the pacific coast of -- the japan seacoast and the pacific coast of almarie and chiba and the inner part of the tokyo bay, the
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islan islands. in these places tsunamis have been observed. this is as of 6:00 p.m. this evening. tsunamis have been arriving so apart from the areas mentioned, there are other places where tsunamis have hit land. as for aftershocks, many strong aftershocks have taken place. for awhile, the aftershocks will continue. please remain individual lent and be cautious regarding the aftershocks. i will conduct my briefing according to the information i have provided to you. we have been distributed with data on the distribution of
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earthquakes exceeding magnitude 8.4 which have taken place in the past. historically the magnitude scale was different from what we have now. a simple comparison is not possible but a magnitude 8.8 is one of the largest we have or the largest we have experienced in japan. our seismic devices and measuring devices since they have been in operation, 8.8 magnitude is the largest we have recorded. the next government is about the region and historical
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earthquakes distribution. >> okay, we are listening to a live press briefing happening there in japan. this is from the meteorlogical center. it was 8.8 earlier, then changed to 8.9. we will see these numbers change. none the less, it's a huge earthquake. we were talking about this sense of the culture of earthquakes and there was even folklore. give an example of how japan is used to earthquakes. tell me about a folkloric talk of a great cat fish. it has to do with how the japanese are used to earthquakes. are you there? >> caller: i'm here. it's a reality here.
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this is one of the most earthquake prone areas of the world. an earthquake can strike in japan at any moment. we have in japan regular earthquake drills and what to do in case of an earthquake. this is something that is in the back of minds of people here. it comes with living here. >> we were just listening to a briefing from the japan meteorlogical center. the largest they have experienced is 8.8. based on the latest information they have based on the information coming in they are at 8.4. regardless of the numbers here, you have had very large preshocks or fore shocks. there are many aftershocks now.
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>> caller: i haven't been able to count exactly. roughly ten that we could feel in tokyo. >> wow. you are saying ten to 12? >> caller: yeah. yeah. there could have been more. i'm sure there are some the bods can't feel. i'm sure the aftershocks were more and still continuing now. >> all right. thank you so much. our producer in tokyo giving us the latest information coming out of there on the ground. appreciate it. hopefully we can touch base with you later. they are at 6:40 p.m. local time. this earthquake hitting not more than four hours and 40 minutes ago. that is what we understand at the moment. let's go to ginger zee. the last you and i spoke, there was concern of the tsunami waves and the visual you have for us articulates it quite well. >> yeah. >> even though it happened on
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the northeastern coast, it can wraparound. >> that's why tsunami warnings are in effect for all of hawaii. i was looking at a website that tells when earthquakes happen. a 4.6 earthquake reported in hawaii. it's on the big island. it's a tremor you would feel. it's not going to be a problem. we know something is going on and you have to have that thought in your head. i have been in contact with a friend who is close to honolulu, close to the beach and is headed for higher ground. you are seeing the website from noaa where you can track when they happen. if you look in the center of the screen where hawaii is, you can see the two, when it happens, how large it was. this is a great way to track what is happening at this point. i was talking to a friend and he is instructed to move from the beach in hawaii where he lives
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and go to higher ground. guam, they are saying you have to get to 50 feet elevation. >> it's just south of the number two you had there. maybe an inch. everybody's screen is different. all these areas of concern, right? >> right. this is a great way to see who is affected, how much. not necessarily tsunami. everyone is bracing for that. the tsunami wave, what happens, this is interesting. i don't know how much you hit on this. the chilean earthquake happened under land. this one happens under water. that displaces water more. it's why the tsunami threat for this event is larger than it was when the chilean earthquake happened. >> that's a great picture you had up there. it shows all the areas there in southeast asia at exposure. australia to the south. >> right. >> you have certainly indonesia,
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you have the philippines, you have china. all of these of concern. you know, it's so far away, the west coast of the united states. still of concern there, too. >> the angle at which the earthquake happened and the parts that will be affected most. it's why we have hawaii as our first concern united states states wise. the west coast is under the tsunami warning as well. the angle takes it from hawaii southward to mexico, chile, argentina. everybody south. this is so large, so many folks affected potentially. we'll be in this wait and see. >> what we learn from the huge earthquake in indonesia is that they put out the tsunami warning systems more prevalently. japan is a leading force in technology used around the world. as we all remember, the buoys put out to sea that measures
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ebbs and flows of the ocean current. when the buoys notice and detect higher ebbs and flows they send out a signal. it was so close to the coast they didn't necessarily need the tsunami warning systems. >> right. it's something that is a growing science much like our atmosphere that we are always studying and getting more technology to help us. the buoys are one element. they had 30 seconds. now, with the tsunami warnings, we have hours. people are starting to get to higher ground. it's something we want to emphasize. listen to the local officials and keep your ears and eyes open at this point. >> of course, as you stand and show us the concerned area up and down the coast of the united states, this also reaches, of course, down to mexico and up to canada, too.
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right? >> yes. it goes all the way up. the entire pacific. that's what's so wild about t s this. usually, you have a certain area. i was here covering the chile quake. these are warnings. warnings mean imminent. it's going to happen. how big and how much that water or wave will affect it -- when the tsunami happens, the energy is rising up and it travels quickly. you don't see it. you don't have a huge wave over the water to track and see. what happens is it goes under the water. once it hits the coast is when you get the problem. it hits. often when you have an island like hawaii, it suddenly goes up. >> right. >> it's not a gradual you can walk off. it just drops off. you have a quick scale that the water travels up and you get the large wave.
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>> what you are describing there, ginger, is the fact that the sea floor gets more and more shallow. >> right. >> therefore the churning of the water as it comes slower, in other words the wave slows down, but it gets higher and higher like the waves you see on the coast of california. except this is, of course, a tsunami wave. the concern might be when we look at the west coast, is how flat the land is and what sort of breakers there are. san diego, the beaches there, southern california, san francisco, which basically doesn't have much of a breaker there. only ten feet tall. then there are other areas like santa cruz and santa barbara, those parts of the state where you have higher mountainous areas. they would be more protected. this could see a lot of water, shall we say, in areas that are
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well paved but don't have the protection they need. >> even if you don't get the large wave, you could have the flooding. we are associated to that in the northeast. we are not talking the big storm here. this is such a big issue. you have the flooding concerns. again, i think it's hawaii southward from everything i have been reading up on that the angle that this travels should hit hawaii and southward. everyone is in a tsunami warning. >> what's interesting is if you are out at sea, farther away from land, that could be a better place to be only because the ocean is so deep at that moment, the energy that is flowing through it moving at the speed of a plane, roughly 400 miles an hour is divided. it's mitigated throughout the water. it's where it gets more and more shallow. >> it converges and starts to rush up. it's where you get the wave and it becomes dangerous. >> you are right.
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out on the ocean, the buoys are safe. >> great stuff, thank you for that. we are going straight to the prime minister of japan. he's speaking now. let's listen. >> chef secretary told reporters the government considers -- >> the prime minister just finished speaking. we are trying to catch the latter part of his statement. once we get the translation, we'll let you know what he said. of course, the concern is how will his country now fully affected by this 8.9 according to the latest numbers from the usgs down to 8.4 according to japan center. that's the number they are saying. in either case, we are looking at the aftermath, the effect of a great earthquake. 8.9 is the fifth largest ever on record, at least. for japan, the largest it has had is 8.8.
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they are now saying it's an 8.4. this picture here, it gives a sense -- again, if you are just joining us, the tsunami waves running through japan. a large part of the island is used to grow food because they would like to be sustainable. you can see 18-wheelers being pushed around in these parts of japan. may be very common only because there is so much farmland in the business districts, in the business centers such as tokyo. you won't see this. that's correct. we all know. we see the pictures. this sort of damage that we are seeing in the pictures is pushing the debris through all the farmland. think of the aftereffect. japan going forward in weeks to come, in months to come, will have to rebuild all this as their farmland is destroyed.
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it is a very big fishing community. all right. we are going to continue to watch this that is happening. we are going to go to dr. robert sesero. doctor. i guess he's speaking now or are you on the phone? >> caller: yes, i am. >> the numbers are changing. you and i know the numbers will evolve over the coming hours as more information comes in. either way, give us a sense of context in comparison, if you will, of other earthquakes we have experienced and compare it to this one. >> caller: the one in chile was large as well. this event is not going to produce as much far field damage as the one in chile. we are still -- it's still early in the modelling results.
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we are trying to compare what our models are telling us compared to what he see on the coastal gauges. it's still early to tell exactly how this is going to play out. it looks as though we are going to be seeing maybe a meter to two meters in the hawaiian chain. hilo looks like two meters. >> all right, about six feet there. what about the west coast of the united states? >> caller: it doesn't look that big. i'm looking at a map that shows the beam pattern. it looks like that is down in the submeter range. maybe as little as ten to 40 centimeters. it's not a significant event on the west coast. >> what you are thinking is about six to roughly 20 inches on the west coast, roughly speaking. is that correct?
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>> caller: yeah. something like that. it's pretty small. of course, if it's high tide then there will be a little more effect. in general, unless you are in a bay like crescent city, they can have more of a problem because it tends to resinate. >> a previous large earthquake in the united states, the last one we can remember is 6.9, the one in loma priya that i have been talking about. a way to understand in the united states a large earthquake. 6.9 compared to 8.9, cha they are reporting in japan, it's a difference of 100-fold, right? >> caller: no, it's more than that. in terms of energy, each magnitude is a factor of 30. it's 900 times larger. >> just energy wise. >> caller: in terms of energy
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release. >> i can't imagine that here. 900 times greater. >> caller: in terms of energy release, yes. >> when you hear a number of 8.9, what goes through your mind with that comparison? >> caller: it's big. what else can you say? it's big. this qualifies as a great event. it's one of the largest that's happened in japan, ever. >> all right. doctor, thank you so much. updating us from the tsunami warning center. we are looking at six to seven feet in terms of a surge in hawaii. the west coast of the united states, there's a warning there. he's saying six to 20 inches there. might be what the people there see. we are going to watch the latest information. it has been changing. the magnitude is changing. stay with us on msnbc. not funny. act my age? -why? -why? -why?
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breaking news here on msnbc. watch what's happening in japan. if you are just joining us, let me give you what we know right now. here at 4:57 a.m. eastern time. we have heard reports there hannan 8.9 earthquake. that number may change but an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. now, they have had aftershocks since. an hour after they had the earthquake, about five hours ago, they then experienced a tsunami wave. that was the first. this is the afteraffect. this is where the epicenter is. tokyo not too far away. the tsunami wave going through all the farmlands of japan and taking down anything in its way. there have been several aftershocks we continue to
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watch. alex witt is here with us. as we have been watching the aftereffects and the concern now of the tsunami wave not only in japan because they still have concern there, but also the united states as we look at hawaii and the west coast of the united states. >> the good news i have for you and all of you watching, good morning. the u.s. pacific fleet based in pearl harbor in hawaii decided not to move the ships or call the residents on the base to move inland. they believe at this time, whatever is heading toward hawaii is that which can be with stood keeping things as they are. the ships in the like in the port. the base, itself, is nestled in the pearl harbor base. the base of the mountains there that does have an incline. it is somewhat removed from the water. the u.s. pacific fleet


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